33.4% of full-time employees wish to receive more feedback from their supervisors. [Joblist]

Now, that is a number that is hard to ignore, right?

Feedback given the right way using the right process always motivates employees to perform better.

On the other hand, companies that shy away from giving feedback often face low employee engagement rates and low productivity. But what makes continuous feedback so special that it delivers better results than other forms of feedback? This is precisely what we are going to discuss in today’s blog.

What is Continuous Feedback?

Continuous feedback is the process of exchanging feedback between a manager and an employee on a regular basis.

It is an excellent tool for both short-term and long-term strategic alignment as employees can get real-time feedback directly from their reporting managers.

As opposed to traditional feedback processes which take place once or twice a year, continuous feedback is more frequent and helps employees correct their errors before it accumulates.

Cool, right?

All you need to have is a proper system and a willing set of employees in place to carry this out. 

Now for the ‘why’ aspect of continuous feedback: Well, every form of feedback given to the employees, including continuous ones, is closely linked to the performance management strategy of the company.

If you want your employees to perform well, you need to give them proper guidance and keep them engaged. No feedback means no one cares (mostly). At least that’s what your employees begin to think once they realize there is no one who bothers to evaluate their work and offer the right feedback. 

As long as continuous feedback is done the right way and the managers don't lose sight of the purpose of the process, it is an excellent tool to elevate employee performance and maintain it.

Continuous feedback can be done in multiple ways:

  • One-on-one conversations
  • Informal check-ins
  • Peer evaluations
  • Digital platforms or tools designed for providing and exchanging feedback

The best thing about continuous feedback is that it can be kept as informal as one wants. So talk to your employees and have an open discussion about the kind of continuous feedback they would like to receive. 

What Are the Benefits of Continuous Feedback?

According to Mercer, only 2% of organizations globally believe their performance process provides substantial value, and an even smaller 2% believe they have outstanding feedback practices.

This highlights a crucial gap in how feedback is managed. Often, the lack of a robust feedback system can lead directly to poor employee performance. So, how can continuous feedback address this issue? Let's explore the advantages it offers:

1. Aligns Company Goals With Personal Goals

All employees have their own set of personal goals. So do organizations. There is little chance that these goals always align. This is where the biggest benefit of continuous feedback comes in.

As managers have one-on-one meetings with employees, they get to understand their personal goals. These individual goals can then be made to align with the organizational goals so that the employees feel more connected to the company they work in.

For example, if the personal goal of an employee is to become a Senior Developer in 2 years, the manager can explain how achieving the company goals can result in achieving this particular goal effortlessly. A change in perspective is all it takes to amp up the performance of employees from mediocre to excellent.

2. Decreases Employee Turnover

Maybe it is the generational shift or maybe it is just the norm now, but employees don't stick with a company for longer periods like they used to. Although there are external factors affecting the decision of employees to leave a company, managers can take proactive steps to decrease this.

Continuous feedback is an excellent way to help employees stay with the company for longer, as it keeps employees in loop of what's happening with the company. It also makes them feel like the company is actually putting in effort to value them and make them stay. If nothing else goes according to plan, at least the effort managers put into conducting continuous feedback will definitely be recognized by employees. 

3. Increases Employee Engagement

Although obvious, it is also a pretty important point.

An increase in the level of employee engagement might be the biggest selling point of continuous feedback.

Regular one-on-one sessions that managers have with their employees provides an opportunity to recognize the performance of an employee on an immediate basis, which is almost impossible in any other form of feedback mechanism. I

It boosts self-confidence of employees and increases the level of commitment they have towards the work they do. An increase in employee engagement is somewhat of a natural consequence of these actions and reactions.  

4. Real-time Problem Solving

Just imagine having to wait for an entire quarter to resolve a problem that you have regarding the work you do. It is nothing short of demotivating. The biggest perk of continuous feedback is that there is no need to wait.

Just like recognizing good work, continuous feedback provides the time and place for employees to raise their concerns regarding their daily tasks. It can work the other way around as well, where the manager can rectify the errors in the work of an employee on a real-time basis. 

5. Personalized Development

Continuous feedback is super-personalized. It is not conducted as a common meeting where everything is watered down and generalized.

The one-on-one sessions that the managers have with their employees opens an opportunity to discuss the future they have in the company.

For example, if an employee finds themself to have trouble mastering MS Excel, the manager can help them by suggesting beginner level courses to understand Excel better. Things can work on a larger scale as well, where managers suggest the next step in the career of the employee like applying for the next high position in their career trajectory as well. 

6. Strengthens Relationships

No matter how poor interpersonal skills you have, attending one-on-one sessions with your manager on a daily basis is going to be a good ice-breaker, and will help create a good relationship with the manager. Vice-versa is also applicable here.

The space the manager and the employee creates for themselves where feedback is openly given and received, acts as a great platform for building strong relationships. It then leads to a better company culture as well.

7. Boosts Customer Satisfaction

Continuous feedback does have some desirable byproducts. Increased customer satisfaction is an example.

If you conduct continuous feedback, you can correctly scrutinize the potential as well as the drawbacks of each of your employees. It helps them hone their skills better, which in-turn help them treat their customers better.

Also, as continuous feedback helps increase employee engagement and satisfaction, happy employees create happy customers as a result.

8. Faster Learning Cycles

Continuous feedback helps correct the mistakes made by employees quickly, which reduces the duration it normally takes for an employee to learn something.

For instance, if learning a new report writing style usually takes a week, with continuous feedback, the learning time reduces to 3 or 4 days. Timely feedback is key here. At the right time, managers are able to guide the employees on what works and what doesn't. 

9. Better Communication

Most problems arise in a workplace (and almost always in real life as well) when there is some sort of miscommunication taking place among the parties involved. In any other form of feedback, the chances of misinterpreting given feedback are high.

But when it comes to continuous feedback, that is not the case. It opens up multiple channels for communication which reduce the chance of misinterpretation. It also makes the employees better at raising their concerns rather than keeping it to themselves. 

Keep the Feedback Coming 

Do not shy away from giving proper feedback. It creates a culture where your employees do not shy away from receiving them. The only thing is that, like everything else in life, there is no cookie-cutter solution for continuous feedback.

It helps the management to understand where the employes stand in terms of continuous feedback and the level of acceptance they have towards the possible change.

Baby steps is the mantra here, so go slow and ease them into the new culture of feedback. So are you ready to transform the feedback culture of your organization?